Missoula Montana's Windermere SUP CUP - A Race Full of Alo-HAAWW!!
by Linda McCoy - USA SUP SouthCentral Region Rep
I had so much fun in Missoula this weekend at the 10th Annual Windermere SUP CUP! The race benefits the Watershed Education Network and the Missoula Food Bank's EmPower Pack Program. The EmPower Pack program provides food for children to eat over the weekends when they are not able to access meals at school! It's so fun to see the Food Bank team paddling dressed up as various food items- like a strawberry, banana, bacon slice, egg, ketchup, or a carrot! They raffled off a BOTE inflatable paddleboard this year! The lucky winner was a Montana local, Doreen Stokes! Most of the 70 participants are locals from Montana and Washington, but paddlers come from all over the US and Canada!
My CenTexSUP team from Austin, Texas attended for the third year and we plan to go every year! Shoutout to my teammates Veronica and Julia - this was their first river race and they both finished strong!! The race is sponsored by Windermere Realty and the volunteers do an amazing job! This year, they extended the course to a 4.5 mile course ending at McCormick Park. Once you check in and get your timing chip in the morning, you load your board on the truck and hop on the shuttle to the start line!
It is professionally timed by Competitive Timing and it's a race against the clock! Paddlers cross the starting line carpet start at Sha-Ron fishing area and hit the water as fast as possible. The eddy at the start line is a challenge right off the bat! The Clark Fork River, one of a limited number of "wild & scenic" rivers in the US, has a nice steady flow and a few spots of bumpy water. This makes the course quick and fun! There are two "drops" along the way that are a little intimidating, but navigable. Next year's race will be held Sunday, July 16th, 2023 - mark your calendars!
The Clark Fork River is an amazing river and the scenery is astounding! You may even see a bison on a paddleboard (even if it's just on someone's shirt)! Missoula is such a cute town - full of restaurants, cute shops, ice cream stands, and breweries! But I have to say that my favorite part of this race is definitely the people! Everyone is so friendly!! It is great to connect with people year after year and see how our USASUP community continues to grow!
Awards are given for Men's and Women's Elite (cash prize) and Recreational Men's and Women's (prize packs) as well as recognition for the fastest team! To enter as a team, you need to have at least 5 people paddle the course. The average of the top 4 paddlers on your team determines the winner! I'm proud to say that our CenTexSUP team has won the top team honors 3 years in a row! My teammate, Jim placed 2nd Men's Elite and I placed 2nd Women's Recreational. Watch out Missoula! Texas will be back next July!
This year's podium finishers include:
Elite Men's: Dan Miller (1), Jim Nickerson (2), and Mitchell Schafhauser (3)
Elite Women's: Jonni Pekus (1), Sue Miks (2), and Tricia Lyons (3)
Recreational Men's: Carver Butterfield (1), Jeff Haacke (2), and Cameron Stewart (3)
Recreational Women's: Sarah Lucero (1), Linda McCoy (2), and Doreen Stokes (3)
You can find the full results here: https://competitivetiming.com/windermere-sup-cup-results/
Congrats to all of the paddlers for coming out and finishing the fun and challenging course!
I hope to see y'all in Montana next year to share in the Alo-HAW spirit of the Windermere SUP CUP!
Go to USASUP.org and join today! Without U, we are just SASP :0)